Setting Targets and Goals for Your Recycling Program

Once the plastics recycling program has been established and some data and metrics have been collected and validated, it is time to establish targets and goals for continuous improvement in the program.


What is the difference between goals and targets? Goals provide a broad vision of what a hospital is trying to accomplish. Targets are the more specific measures that are being undertaken to achieve the goal. For example, the goal for the plastics recycling program may be to increase plastics recycling by 25% by weight in the next year. The targets associated with that goal might be (1) implement recycling in two new functional areas within the next quarter and (2) add blue wrap to the recycling program within the next six months.


Both goals and targets should be measurable to be able to evaluate progress and completion. Accountabilities and timelines also should be clearly defined. Goals and targets for your hospital will depend on the type of data available and Key Performance Indicators that are being tracked (see our metrics collection guidelines), the financial feasibility (see the Economic Pro Forma), and other sustainability and recycling initiatives within your hospital. Goals and targets can also be inputs to consider as part of your communication plan.


As you develop goals and targets for your plastic recycling program, consider the following information:

  • Between 20-25% of a hospital waste stream is plastic packaging and products.

  • Hospitals should be able to routinely achieve recycling rates of 15%.

  • Approximately 85% of a hospital waste stream is non-infectious.

Discover more resources for running and improving your hospital plastics recycling program.